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May 2017

Gordon & Rees New York Team Obtains Summary Judgment for Insurance Claim Adjustment Firm

New York Office Managing Partner Mercedes Colwin, Senior Counsel Ryan Sestack, and Associate Sandra Jimenez obtained summary judgment on behalf of their client, an insurance claim adjustment firm. The plaintiff, a liquor wholesaler and distributor, brought suit against the client seeking significant recovery for claims that arose from the client’s adjustment of the plaintiff’s insurance claim in connection with extensive damage sustained to its leased offices and warehouses as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  The plaintiff alleged that it relied on fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations made by the client in settling its insurance claim for nearly nine figures. The plaintiff further alleged that the client breached the duty of care owed to it and improperly adjusted its insurance claim.

In entering summary judgment in favor of the client, the court accepted Gordon & Rees’s argument that the client had not made a material misrepresentation to the plaintiff and that the plaintiff was basing its negligent and fraudulent misrepresentation claims on future events that had not yet taken place at the time the plaintiff settled its insurance claim. The court further accepted Gordon & Rees’s argument that the plaintiff did not have a viable negligence claim against the client because it could not establish the standard of care was breached given the esoteric nature of the issue in dispute. 

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Mercedes Colwin is the Managing Partner of Gordon & Rees New York offices. She handles a wide variety of litigation including employment law, commercial litigation, products liability, civil rights violations and criminal law.  Ms. Colwin has successfully tried 49 cases to verdict in various jurisdictions throughout the nation and regularly defends executives from Fortune 500 companies charged with allegations of wrongdoing, including claims of sexual misconduct. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Colwin devoted several years in the public sector where she was a gubernatorial appointee as an Administrative Law Judge for the New York State Division of Human Rights. During her nine year service, while a partner at a major regional New York Law firm, she presided over three-thousand cases under the Federal and State antidiscrimination laws. Forbes Business American Airlines named Ms. Colwin one of the six most influential women in America's list that included former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Notre Dame Law School also presented Ms. Colwin with the prestigious Graciela Olivarez Award for her outstanding achievement as a leading Hispanic lawyer of the highest ethical and moral standards who exemplifies commitment to community service. Additionally, she was selected as one of the “Nations Most Powerful Employment Attorneys” by Human Resource Executive Magazine. Widely regarded as one of the top national legal analysts for the FOX News Network, she appears to discuss critical legal issues and high profile cases dominating the news.

Ryan Sestack is Senior Counsel in the Commercial Litigation and Employment Law practice groups. He handles all phases of pretrial litigation from inception to trial, as well as appeals.  His experience includes drafting dispositive and non-dispositive motions, appellate briefs, and discovery documents of every kind.  Mr. Sestack has defended and taken more than 100 depositions and argued dozens of motions and appeals before state and federal courts, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  His practice is broad and diverse, assisting clients in simple to complex and novel matters involving insurance, condominiums, general and professional liability, intellectual property, commercial and employment disputes, the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Telephone Consumer Protect Act, and construction law.

Sandra Jimenez is an associate in the New York office of Gordon & Rees. Her practice is focused primarily on defending employers in employment litigation matters. Ms. Jimenez is experienced in handling all aspects of litigation from pleadings through trial. She has defended employers in both state and federal employment matters involving various claims including retaliation, discrimination, and wrongful termination. Ms. Jimenez has also represented employers before administrative agencies and has participated in mediation.

Mercedes Colwin
Ryan J. Sestack



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